Believe What You Will…

If you listen carefully, you can hear it. There is a quiet buzz across this country, from coast to coast to coast, almost, but not quite muted by the trumpets of manufactured Canadian pride and Olympic spirit being blown right next to our ears. The opening ceremonies were just last night, but the real games began a long time ago.

According to media reports, “The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra refused an invitation to record music for the Vancouver 2010 opening ceremonies because Vanoc wanted other musicians to ‘mime’ the performance.” This is reminiscent of China’s decision to have a cute kid lip-sync a song sung by a more homely, but talented child. Maybe we should replace the orchestra with cute six year olds like they did.

Tom Mills of the ‘Sault Star’reports that people in are complaining of being “utterly sick of the Olympics already, or at least of the marathon ad campaign by CTV.” He describes one friend’s “desire to have Canadian actor Donald Sutherland… subjected to treatments that probably are banned under the Geneva Convention. You torture us, Donald, and we’ll torture you right back.” If his friend knew that Nikki Yanofsky was going to top off the campaign by singing “I believe,” he might not have considered her a legal combatant either.

Commercial manipulation by business and government, of course, is hardly unique to the Olympics. There is, however, lurking beneath the mass production of faux nationalism, a criminal aspect to the games in their modern form, one that dirties the hand of any country, government, or company that chooses to affiliate themselves. According to the Associated Press: “The IOC had been talking to Ottawa for two years hoping for help to enforce the Olympic body’s anti-doping policies. But most performance-enhancing substances aren’t illegal in Canada and the country’s privacy laws restrict what authorities can tell Olympic officials.” The report states that The IOC’s medical commissioner “said last month that negotiating an agreement was difficult because Canada does not have anti-doping legislation. That’s something the IOC will require from future host countries as a prerequisite for staging the games.”

Talk about home field advantage. Perhaps this will be the year that Canada brings home more gold than ever. With prices soaring, our timing couldn’t be better.

In ancient Greece, when the Olympics first came into being, any man was allowed to participate, without having to qualify, without government funding, and without having to appear in a McDonald’s commercial. They did not compete for their country’s glory, but for their own, and for the love of sport. They did not achieve the super-human feats of today’s athletes, because they were humans, competing against one another, instead of becoming vessels for a competition between pharmaceutical companies. Today’s Olympics are a bedlam of commercialized nationalism, drugs, and the relentless exploitation of the human spirit. I Believe every Canadian knows this deep down inside, and all of the ugly red mittens in the world won’t change that.